One of the most important aspects of planning your wedding is choosing the perfect venue. This sets the tone for the entire event, so it’s super-important that you select somewhere that suits your style within the constraints of your budget.
Sounds simple, right? But like so many things, the devil, as they say, is in the detail! Even within a relatively small geographical area, there are likely to be several options to choose from, so how do you narrow down the possibilities?
Well, the bad news is, it’s going to require time, effort and organisation. Fortunately, however, we’ve compiled a comprehensive check list to make things easier and speed the process up.
So, let’s make a start.
Make a List
This sounds obvious, but before you do anything else get yourself a notebook and make a list of potential venues along with their website and contact details. You can now eliminate those that fail to match your expectations based on the following criteria:
Before you consider where you’ll hold your wedding, you’ll need to have organised your wedding budget. There is nothing more disappointing than falling in love with a fairy tale venue only to discover that you can’t afford it. On that note, some venues do publish a guideline price on their website. However, it’s advisable to email or phone to check the precise details, as the price can spiral rapidly out of control if you need to add any extras.
If you’ve engaged the services of a wedding planner, ask them for recommendations. They will be aware of venues which are likely to suit your style and budget, thus saving you time, effort and, potentially, money as they may be able to negotiate a discount on your behalf.
Is the venue available?
Before you waste hours debating the merits of a particular venue, check whether it’s available on your wedding day first.
Is the venue licensed?
If you plan to hold your wedding ceremony and the reception in one place, you’ll need to find out if the venues you are considering are licenced for civil ceremonies. You should also check whether this facility will incur additional charges.
Is the venue the right size?
When it comes to choosing a wedding venue, one of the most important things you’ll need to consider is the number of guests you’re expecting. If you don’t yet have a proper guest list, you should make a rough one to get an idea of numbers. But whether your wedding is large or small, your venue will still need to comfortably accommodate everyone without feeling overcrowded. Plus, knowing your numbers will save time as you can quickly eliminate venues that aren’t large enough.
If, as is often the case, you plan to invite more guests to the evening party, don’t forget to take this into account. Most venues can usually cope with larger numbers in the evening than at a sit-down meal, but do check, especially if you plan to invite significantly more people to the evening do.
Tip: Try to view any shortlisted venues when they are set up for a wedding. This will give you a clearer idea of how much space there is between tables, on the dance floor etc, which is much more difficult to gauge in an empty room. If that’s not an option, at least ask to see photographs.
Does is it match the style of your wedding?
The venue you choose will play a huge role in setting the tone and atmosphere of your big day, so it’s important to select somewhere that fits the kind of wedding you envisage. For instance, you, do want your wedding to be relaxed and informal, or would you prefer a more formal and luxurious setting?
The time of year may have a bearing on your decision too. Summer weddings are well-suited to laid-back celebrations in outdoor spaces, whereas a winter wedding lends itself to a more glamorous indoor setting.
Decide on the type of atmosphere you hope to create too, as certain venues fit certain styles of wedding. A country club or historic mansion are good choices if you’re looking to create a romantic atmosphere, while something more rustic will suit a country style wedding better.
Does it have any outdoor space?
If you’re getting married in the spring or summer months, or even early autumn, think about the outside space a venue has to offer. There are several advantages to having access to grounds / gardens:
- Gardens are great for creating a romantic atmosphere.
- Your photographs will look fabulous taken against a verdant backdrop.
- You have the option of adding outdoor games for guests’ entertainment.
- The celebrations can spill out into the garden.
- Potential for fireworks.
Do have a plan B in place to account for the inclement British weather though!
How convenient is the location?
Ideally, the venue should be easily accessible to guests, so consider choosing somewhere that is centrally located and easy to get to. Make it too remote, and you may have guests getting lost en route to your big day!
Is there parking nearby or at the venue?
Having sufficient parking is important for two reasons:
- You want guests to be able to park close to the venue, particularly if they are elderly or infirm.
- You don’t want them to have to pay for parking.
This is more likely to be an issue in city hotels than country houses, however, it’s still worth bearing in mind. If a venue doesn’t have sufficient parking, you may want to consider a different venue unless there is adequate public parking nearby that guests can use.
What amenities does the venue offer?
The amenities a venue has on offer can make or break it as a potential choice for hosting your wedding. Ask about:
- Dressing rooms for the bridal party, plus the groom and his entourage.
- Overnight accommodation for guests.
- Disabled facilities.
Does the venue have any restrictions?
Before you sign on the dotted line, check what you are and aren’t allowed to do at a particular venue, and what’s included. For example:
- Does the venue have an event coordinator?
- Will yours be the only wedding hosted on this date?
- Do they have a wedding package, and can it be customised?
- What time will the reception need to finish?
- Can you have a live band? When can they begin setting up?
- Can you decorate the venue to suit your theme/ is access available the evening before?
- Can you use an outside catering company?
- Can you use the venue’s kitchen facilities?
- Can you use your own suppliers, or is there a list of approved contractors?
- Is there an extra charge for tables, chairs etc? (Some venues rent these out).
- Can you rearrange the layout to suit?
- What is the maximum number of guests?
- What time will the florist, cake maker etc be able to start setting up?
- Can you have fireworks?
- How much deposit do you require? Is it refundable if you need to cancel?
- What’s the cancellation policy?
It can be all too easy to rush into booking a venue without thinking it through properly. However, if you use our wedding venue check list, we’re sure you’ll find somewhere perfect that will match up to your expectations and your budget.
That’s a wrap
We hope you find the perfect venue for your big day, regardless of the size of the event. If you need some more ideas, download the full list of Dublin wedding venues.
At PartyWizz, we specialise in providing wedding entertainers and suppliers such as magicians, photographers, videographers, musicians and more. We pride ourselves in only working with the best in the business.